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PostMore on the Adultery Incident (Gospel of John) (David Duggan, USA, 10/24/20 4:34 am)
To answer our dear editor's immediate question, the Vulgate translation of the Bible by St. Jerome (383 CE) contains the pericope adulterae, and it was from this that Augustine (354-430 CE) derived his accusation that "enemies of the faith" were counseling against its inclusion in Scripture (De Adulterinis Conjugiis). Wikipedia has a pretty good analysis of this debate, without coming to a conclusion (the entry about Jerome questions his familiarity with rhetorical Greek). The Vulgate was supposedly derived from the most ancient texts available in the 4th Century CE, although by this time, the center of gravity of Christendom had shifted to Constantinople.
See Jesus and the woman taken in adultery:
The Council of Trent (1545-63 CE) declared that the Vulgate was authoritative. The KJV (1611 CE) included the pericope if for no other reason than that there was no good reason to exclude it. More recent textual analysis however, together with the discovery of 2nd and 3rd Century CE Greek texts deemed Apocryphal (Gospel of Hebrews) which contain the account, cast doubt on its authenticity. If the Bible is supposed to be the inspired Word of God, then there should be some agreement as to the authenticity of the text. Unlike Judaism, with its Koine-written Septuagint (commissioned by the Ptolemaic king of Egypt in the 3rd Century BCE), Christianity has no single ancient text deemed authoritative. But then again, the Septuagint is not regarded as authoritative by many Hebrew scholars who look upon it with a jaundiced eye because that was the Old Testament translation used by early Christians (who did not know Hebrew).
Still, John Eipper's question compels further inquiry into why we should believe anything contained in the Bible, given its malleability. Not only the pericope adulterae, but the "snake handling" passage in Mark 16:9-20 (parts of which are mirrored in the "road to Emmaus" account in Luke 24:13-35), and the "wives, submit to your husbands" dictum of Ephesians 5:22-24 (NIV, see also I Corinthians 11:3 and Colossians 3:18-19) have been accused of being later interpolations. I can't resolve this debate and must rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to determine which is correct. That, plus common sense. How long would a marriage last if instead the injunction were: "Husbands submit to your wives"?
And as to Massoud Malek's accusation of Donald Trump's adultery, none of the ancient texts (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22) contains a prohibition on a married man shtupping an unmarried woman (using the Germanic, reflective of the Donald's Drumpf ancestry). Neither Marla Maples nor Melania Knauss was married at the time of Donald's extra-marital (and dangerous) liaisons.
JE comments: This sounds unfair to women. My King James Version would read, "Shtuppeth not, as it hurts people's feelings."